The Halloween season seems like an excellent time to talk about the horrors visited upon me in my middle age. After all, hot flashes, dry skin, hair loss, weight gain, mood swings, body aches, sleeplessness, and general feelings of complete and utter psychosis are the things of which nightmares are made.
Am I right?
So, how have my symptoms improved since starting hormone therapy six months ago? Well, I no longer question my own sanity on the regular, so, that's an improvement.
I have noticed a decrease in daytime hot flashes but continue to be awakened by them during the night. One positive change in the nighttime flashes, though; they no longer come with a panic precursor. That is to say, I get hot, but I don't get a buzz of panic prior to the heat. That's actually a vast improvement, and I'll take it.
As for the dry skin and hair loss; both have improved, dramatically. The hair issue could have been remedied by the new thyroid cocktail that I am on, but, I wouldn't be on that protocol if it hadn't been for my new functional medicine doctor, so I'll count it in the "win" category for BHRT. As a side note; the new medication has also increased my energy, especially in the late afternoon. I no longer drag my ass home from work and collapse on the couch. Instead, I have been staying upright and somewhat productive. That's huge.
While I would dearly love to say that my body aches (especially in my feet and knees) have all but disappeared; alas, I cannot. The foot pain is courtesy of plantar fasciitis, which is contributing to the knee pain, and, on some days, to hip and lower back pain. I have invested an ungodly sum of money in more supportive shoes, recently, however; my body hasn't had time to come to terms with the realignment caused by actually having arch support. I am thisclose to making an appointment with a podiatrist, but do not particularly wish to pay more out-of-pocket medical expenses (new insurance kicks in January 1st. Hopefully foot care is covered). So, I stretch. And I stretch. And, I suffer.
I can also report that balancing my hormones has not resulted in immediate and miraculous weight loss. But, I must admit that, until just recently; I was not exactly following a healthy diet, either. Like, at all healthy. I have, in the past thirteen days, however, managed to refrain from sugar and white flour. These adjustments, while small, are the first step to getting back on track (I think I can, I think I can..)
The most impressive improvement in my symptoms has been in my general mental health. I no longer suffer from intense anxiety or debilitating depression. This is huge for me, as, being in that dark place was like floating in unchartered territory. I...was not good at it.
The return of my generally happy and relaxed demeanor is both welcome and appreciated.
So, would I recommend bio-identical hormones to a friend? I would. Have I? I have. Do I wish to be on hormones for the remainder of my life? I do not. Is there a good chance that I will be able to wean off them as I age? There is. Has this been an incredibly stressful journey?
Does it help knowing I'm not going through it alone? Hell yes. In fact, I spent a large amount of time talking about alllll of this stuff with one of my likewise-suffering friends during my recent Broomstick Bash, and, that made a huge difference in my attitude. I'm not alone. I wasn't crazy. Most importantly, there is light at the end of the tunnel and it doesn't appear to be a freight train.
If someone reading this post is also suffering; I hope they hear that.